Just to note that if the overall market is one that is relatively heavily trafficked these two seemingly conflicitng observations can both be true. It may simply mean that those sites are targeting hundreds of phrases instead of just a handful, as we recommend.
As a point of emphasis I can tell you that when I look at my bevy of sites in general, well over 50% of my overall Search-driven traffic comes on phrases most would not guess to be all that terribly valuable, or for that matter highly competitive. The number is actually up around 75% coming from these types of not-super-competitive search terms for my own sites. But there may be a bit of data skew there as compared to most sites since I've always started out each site by optimizing for these secondary and tertiary phrases to at least some degree instead of concentrating exclusively on a couple of so-called money phrases.